A young journalist is caught between the values of two important women in her life, one a homemaker extraordinaire, the other a career woman and feminist trailblazer, while she is left struggling with her own pressure to "have it all".
Sounds relatable? Maybe that's just me.
Western Australian author Rachael Johns is travelling to Newcastle Library to discuss her latest novel Just One Wish, which explores different ideas of womanhood and how they influence the decisions, and sacrifices, of three generations of family - with secrets, suitors and an Elvis cruise thrown in.
Johns, who has sold 600,000 books and received an Australian Book Industry Award, has written over a dozen romance novels and novellas, largely set in rural locations. However, since 2015 her novels have ventured into new territory, which Johns describes as "life-lit".
In her own words, the genre is still about women's relationships but not so much the romantic ones. Instead, they look at bonds with friends, work colleagues and family members.
"It's more specifically focused on the real life issues that contemporary women are dealing with. But hopefully written in a way that is light-hearted."Rachael Johns
"It's more specifically focused on the real life issues that contemporary women are dealing with on a daily basis," Johns said, "But hopefully written in a way that is light-hearted and easy to read."
In her fifth work of life-lit, Johns wanted to explore the connections between a grandmother, mother and daughter, inspired by the close relationship she's enjoyed with her own family's matriarchs, as well as their very different lives.
"My grandmother was born in 1919, she did a little work during World War II when women had to, but she was very much a housewife and looked after the family.
"My mum worked. She was a single mother and she enjoyed working. It was not so much about their beliefs and values but just the way life turned out for them."
The grandmother and mother in the book have a much stronger sense of what women should strive for.
However, the novel begins at a crossroads when grandmother Alice, an 80-year-old feminist, activist and scientist, and her homemaker daughter Sappho, who goes by "Marie", are questioning whether they have sacrificed too much to fulfill their own ideals.
Granddaughter Ged, a journalist, looks to make a path between the two.
While there are plot twists and intrigue, Johns said she hoped that, at its heart, the novel talks to the very common, while difficult, choices women face in love and work today.
"It's changing slowly ... But I think often men can have it all, while for women the buck stops with them, more often than it does with men," Johns said. "Women can have it all, just not all at the same time."
Johns will give an author talk at Newcastle Library between 11 and 12 pm on Thursday. The event is free but bookings are essential.
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